‘Irresponsible’ fly tippers blighting farmers’ fields
Rubbish is being dumped in farmers’ fields because the council’s waste centres are closed.
The information came to light this week when Staffordshire Moorlands District Council confirmed an increase in fly-tipping during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The Biddulph area has been blighted by fly-tipping in recent years, notably at the town's former dye works and on Biddulph Valley Way.
And there are concerns that the ongoing closure of waste tips, operated by Staffordshire County Council, will exasperate the situation as rubbish at people's homes piles up.
Confirming the increase in fly-tipping, a spokesperson for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, which monitors illegal dumping, said this week: “Fly-tipping is never acceptable. It's irresponsible, anti-social and expensive to clean up. There is no excuse for anyone to dump their waste like this and we will always seek to prosecute those responsible wherever possible.
“The council is working hard to support our communities through the current coronavirus emergency and we would urge people to help us focus our resources on the people that need them at this time by behaving in the best interests of all our communities, not fly-tipping.”
They added: “We realise that people may be using the increased time spent at home to spring clean and tidy up their homes and gardens but it is really important that any waste generated is not illegally dumped - if it can't be re-used or recycled, please store it until such time as the tips re-open.”
Last week, the Countryside Alliance said fly-tipping incidents had surged by 300% in some areas - with an “unacceptable” impact on rural communities and the countryside.
Fly-tipping was not a victimless crime, it added - costing private landowners upwards of £47m a year to clear up waste.
In an interview with the Farmer's Guardian, NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “We're hearing from many of our members that their fields are being bombarded with rubbish that's being illegally dumped there. We believe this is due in part to the closure of local authority household waste and recycling centres.”
Wigan Council is one authority that has decided to reopen its waste recycling centres during the lockdown, with visitors told to observe the social distancing measures. Traffic management is in place due to safety concerns and queuing outside tips is restricted. Residents have been told they may be asked to leave and return at a later time.
Staffordshire County Council's website said yesterday (Wednesday) that its waste recycling centres remained closed.